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Again our correspondents have been busy touring through Europe. This time Doro and Michaela from the Vienna duet “Nakari” went to the Czech Republic, went to “Tribal Prague”. It was not their first time there and they love the Czech capital. On the other hand we love the sympathetic and professional style of these two “Hagalladies” and this is the main reason for us to keep quiet for once now and to pass on to:
Festival „Tribal Prague” 2016
by “Nakari”
Yet again the Tribal Prague Festival ended too soon, huge thanks to the organizers Martina Viewegová and Katka Galeb for bringing the Tribal family together in Prague year after year, and we’re happy to say we were there for almost all of them! A weekend of workshops and two evening shows that showcase a wide range of performances by the local scene, European guests and festival teachers, this year’s 7th edition brought Mardi Love from the USA and Mareike from Germany.

We love Mardi Love! Even the Tribal Fusion goddess Rachel Brice herself says: “The real dance heroes that created and fed my personal dance lineage: Jamila Salimpour taught John Compton and Masha Archer, who taught Carolena Nericcio, who taught Jill Parker, who taught Heather Stants, who taught Mardi Love, who all taught me."

We have been to Prague quite a few times now, and it’s such a beautiful historical city that we find new amazing things to explore every time! In between the workshops and the shows we managed to take a quick detour through the Alfons Mucha museum - as long-time Mucha fans, we definitely recommend a visit! We spent the nights in the great company of dozen dancers of Hurriya and Bellatrix at a studio sleepover. And now, join us at the theatre, sit down and enjoy the show

Opening the Friday show are Tamawi, a student group of Martina Viewegová. Five dancers let their veils float to slow traditional music in an evenly paced partly choreographed, partly improvised Prague tribal style. - An inter city collaboration between Prague and Brno comes from Tereza Varona and Parwana, an ATS duet with zills to the Helm classic ‘Kakore Ja’ with its dynamic changes between slow and fast tempo.

Like a medieval forest fairy dancing to the chanting sounds of a Värttinä song, Bára Mólová, a student of Martina Viewegová from Prague combines lyrical gestures and floorwork elements. - Katka’s Galeb Ladies from Prague made the most of their home advantage in a steamy swing fusion to an enthusiastic response from the audience. The nine dancers got everyone ‘In the Mood’ using their big group for fun formation changes, and filling the whole stage with their cheeky attitude.

Pulling herself from the depths of inferno, the demonic Eve captivates us with her strong performance to ‘Homeostasis’ by Nostalghia, using all her technical skills and deep emotional commitment to convey her story. Constantly searching for new impulses and a dynamic equilibrium of control and freedom, the dancer from Munich, Germany forces herself to leave the trodden paths of comfort ­both for herself and the audience, masterfully utilizes her flexibility and fusion technique, and is definitely our highlight of the evening.

Parwana switches her ATS skirts for melodia pants and dances a fusion solo to Lana del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”, bringing us back from the dramatic feeling of the previous piece with her light hearted mood.

A fun piece in black and white comes from Poland by duo Nox in an homage to the glamorous ladies of the golden twenties. The group likes to experiment with American Tribal Style and its many stylisations and tonight we can see them each armed with a feather fan and adorable stage presence.

Tereza Varona enters the stage as a she-warrior in red and black, using her fan veils to their full potential to illustrate her song ‘Aijo’ by the Finnish band Värttinä and emphasise her intense performance, which is her first own dance with fanveils.

Bringing back Charleston fusion with a honey sweet slow beginning, Giuliana Angelini from Munich, Germany flirts with the audience when she tells us ‘Call Me, Maybe’. Using the whole stage as her playground, her performance is an explosion of joyful expression. - Afsana from Brno enters center stage and commands the theatre with her sultry dramatic fusion solo. We’ve seen her perform countless times, and she still manages to surprise us by reinventing her stage persona with every new challenge, delivering a stellar performance to ‘Viper’s Den’ by Beats Antique.

With woven baskets and colourful skirt, Black Silver Tribe from Teplice whirl and dance to Balkan music and draw on their ATS knowledge for their choreographed quartet, balancing and trading baskets, and swishing their skirts.

After the break, Martina Dvořáková from Pilsen dances with long golden finger claws to the earthy song ‘Solar Ohm’ by Kalya Scintilla, fittingly using isolations and gestures to express her connection to the sun.

Emerging from the Indian rainforest to the singing of exotic birds, the ancient temple statues come to life - Bellatrix from Brno in gorgeous peacock costumes take us on a journey back to classical Bollywood movies poses and expressions adapted to tribal fusion inspired by the soundtrack to the Bollywood movie ‘Devdas’.

Auryn from Bamberg begins her solo with a sentimental Lana Del Rey song interpreted fittingly by her earthy queen costume and lyrical dancing. In a surprising cut to an amazing “wannabe” gangster track by Die Antwoord, she shows us her tough side as well.

A picture perfect doll, Tabhaee from Prague interprets in her expressive solo the pop song "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez telling a dark story about domestic violence where nothing is as it seems to be; sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

The Chico Dancers, five students of Afsana from Brno, bring us back to the ATS roots and to the sounds of drums and zills drawing on the lively interaction between the chorus and solo groups.

A family collaboration between Galeb and her son Daniel gets the audience clapping and cheering for more. Galeb’s individual fusion style is complemented by Daniel’s hiphop footwork, first showing off their individual styles in short solos, then coming together in a choreographed refrain and fun back and forth improvisation.
The six ladies of Isizwana Tribe from Prague catch our attention with their perfectly synchronised pure ATS performance, gloriously rich costumes and great stage presence, reminding us again of the beauty of tribal improvisation. Set to a song by Värttinä, who seem to be the favourite interprets of the evening. - Martina Viewegová brings a nice change of pace with her introspective Slovak folksong interpretation and clean relaxed fusion technique. This performance is meant to be a connection with the last year’s festival and reminiscences the dance of Elizabeth Strong to Dan Cantrell’s accordion.

An ensemble of six Bond girls comes from Banska Bystrica. The group Alishaba is dressed in simple and sophisticated black and white striped costumes with different complimenting details, fedora hats and overall great cohesive look performs a confident choreography to a jazzy James Bond tune. - Mareike & Afsana deliver a brilliant finale in traditional ATS style, dancing to a song with rapid dynamic changes, and catching every beat masterfully with their zills and their hips. Meeting on the stage for an international duet, they prove that ATS is a universal language

(wiki link source) Her dancing and costuming were largely influential in shaping the aesthetic of Tribal Fusion, as it is known today.

We had a great time in her zills workshop, not letting the workshop description “Oh where have the days of blue fingertips and bleeding eardrums gone?” scare us away. Mardi has quite the zills skills, and she masterfully led us through charming combinations of her signature moves overlaid with tailor-made zills patterns.

Mareike is our dear friend, who we’ve been meeting at various festivals for a few years now, and we also had her teaching at our festival Caravanseray Vienna. She runs a FatChanceBellyDance Sister Studio in Offenbach, Germany and regularly travels to San Francisco, CA. to learn directly at the source and bridge the US and the European ATS scene.

Mareike brought her ATS expertise to Tribal Prague in several well-rounded and structured workshops. We joined the Power Duets workshops and learned several exciting and fun variations, working on clear communication and cues. It tied in nicely with the Formations and Staging workshop, where we practised advanced formations, interaction of chorus and solo group, and staging the performance according to the location and audience

Duo Nakari - Doro & Michaela
Michaela, Martina, Doro & Katka
Nakari and Mardi Love
Nakari at the Mucha-Museum
Tereza Varona & Parwana
Bára Mólová
Duo Nox
Katka's Galeb Ladies
Tereza Varona
Giuliana Angelini
Black Silver Tribe
Martina Dwořákowá
Galeb and her son Daniel
Chico Dancers
Martina Viewegová
Mareike & Afsana

The opening number of Tamawi is a fusion choreography to Beats Antique’s ‘Alto’, the theme for the nine dancers being formations: everchanging trios, rows and clusters. - Atreya from Prague tells a story of life struggles with her fantasy fusion solo heavily supported by various props. She enters in a red riding hood cape, carrying a candle, and wearing a mask. After putting down all three, she then shimmies and spins across the stage with her red veil.

A beautifully emotional tribal fusion solo by Samira Saabet from Augsburg, Germany interprets the song ‘In This Shirt’ by The Irrepressibles with flowing movement, clean technique, and creative use of the stage. - Angels Tribe from Šumperk introduce their own format of ATS improvisation with short silk fans. Normally a big group, today they’re dancing in a duet, adapting the moves and cues to work with fluttering fans, which is delightful to watch and fits wonderfully into ATS repertoire. We are enthused!

We (Nakari) were honored to perform in the first part of the show ourselves, our Nakari ‘Swamp Gods’ piece inspired by a Thriftworks song and a Mary Oliver poem “Here is the endless wet thick cosmos, the center of everything… Here is swamp, here is struggle, closure - pathless, seamless, peerless mud.”
The Trio Pas du Problème from Brno plays with formation changes and levels in their clockwork-like tribal fusion choreography to ‘Cartoon’ by Raphaël Beau and  ‘I Got’ by Beats Antique.

Yolanda from Kraków, Poland brings a summertime feeling to the stage with her warm presence. Her glam fusion solo is characterized by elegant lines and precise accents to ‘Summertime’ by Charlie Spivak, completed by a confident stage presence and a glittering costume in flamenco ATS look. - Fiery flamenco fusion in red and black comes from Aiwa!Tribe from Ceské Budějovice. The quartet as well as two duets formations utilized surprising accents and dramatic poses, taking advantage of the dancer’s different skill sets for a harmonious performance to ‘Serenade’ by Beatbox Guitar.

Zafar from Prague builds up a beautiful and emotional arc of suspense in his dark fusion solo embodying the life story of a tree spirit from seed to a strong tree, until its untimely end. Accompanied is this by different tracks of The Witcher soundtrack

A versatile Bollywood performance by Amaris from Magdeburg, Germany switches from friendly old school introduction to a high-energy strong Bhangra piece by taking off her veil in a show of skills and badass personality. Set to the Bollywood movie songs ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh’ and ‘Malhari’. - Jah Suriya from Kiev, led by Taisa, enchant us with their Asian fusion trio inspired by Memoirs of a Geisha; a sleek and precisely synchronised choreography to ‘Koto’ by CloZee with wooden fans.
Contemplative and melancholic, Cristina Zegarra from Krefeld, Germany unfolds her tribal fusion solo around her signature otherworldly fluid arm movements, and stealing the audience’s breath away. The quartet Locura from Brno  dance a peaceful tribal fusion piece choreographed by Afsana in simple black and silver costumes to the thoughtful song ‘Mad World’ by Alex Parks.

Katka Galeb talks dirty to us, delivering a playful improvised solo to a fast vintage klezmer song by PostmodernJukebox, communicating with the audience, and sharing her joy of dancing. - Slow chant fuels the fantasy duet Desireé from Bratislava, Slovkia with intricate arm patterns and slow motion movements, leading to the faster second part to the energizing rock music by Jaz Coleman.

Mardi Love, the star of the festival, perfected the art of understatement and is a master in subtle but brilliant dancing and radiant stage presence reaching even the furthermost corners of the theatre. A goddess dripping in assuit and old silver, she brings the time to a still stand as she pays homage to the art of traditional old school belly dance.

Just like the time stood still, now it speeds up and sweeps us all in with Hurriya from Brno, led by Afsana. The tribe of eleven dancers brings up the energy even more as they whirl and swirl across the stage, using every specialty in their ATS bag for the grand finale.
After seeing the two shows, we noticed a few trends emerging at this year’s Tribal Prague! The preference of chant music by Värttinä, twenties era aesthetic and music, and incorporation of modern dance elements, especially floor work, was present in many performances.

We enjoyed the organizers’ idea of including family members in their performances, as well as their choices of Czech and Slovak music. Tribal Prague is also well visited by ATS tribes, this year even more than we were used to! It was yet again a grand experience, and over too soon - we’re already looking forward to the next edition.

Thank you Martina and Katka for having us and making it all happen!

Doro und Michaela

Tribal Prague Links:

Homepage Nakari

Photos © Hana Major Sládková

Konstanze Winkler
Angels Tribe
Samira Saabet
Cibelle Dance Collective
Martina Viewegová
Pas du Problème
Jah Surya
Cristina Zegarra
Katka Galeb
Mardi Love
Duo Desirée
Aiwa! Tribe
This meant that we couldn’t see the rest of the performers in the first half of the show. We are sad to have missed Alicja Cyganik from Wroclaw, Poland, Khattya from Dvůr Králové nad Labem, Czech Republic, Miriam from
Martin, Slovakia, Saffron Tribe from Teplice, Czech Republic, Anicka Hrochová from Litoměřice, Czech Republic, Taisa from Kiev, Ukraine and Alishaba from Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.
We caught Cibelle Dance Collective led by Mareike from the sidestage. Their ATS performance focused in the slow part on duelling duets and the many possibilities of this formation concept. In their second track ‘Gypsy’ by Kan’nal they made use of the changing dynamics and impressed us with their confident performance.

The second part begins with another family collaboration, this time by Martina Viewegová and her brother Rob on a guitar, accompanying it with delay pedal, stomp box and foot tambourine. Martina is replying to the different musical themes with laid-back improvisation and a good dose of humour. Creativity is the passion of their family and they love to meet at home as well as on the stage.